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April 1999

Efficacy of Erbium:YAG Laser Ablation in Darier Disease and Hailey-Hailey Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, J. W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(4):423-427. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.4.423

Background  Among different surgical approaches, dermabrasion and carbon dioxide laser vaporization have been used to treat Hailey-Hailey disease (HHD) (familial benign chronic pemphigus) and Darier disease (DD) (keratosis follicularis), with various results. Because of the erbium:YAG laser's unique absorption characteristics in tissue water, erbium:YAG laser ablation combines the advantages of both techniques, avoiding thermal injury of vaporization and also allowing selectively deeper tissue removal in the follicular lesions of DD. Therefore, good results should be expected in both types of acantholytic disorders.

Observations  Four patients (2 with HHD and 2 with DD) with different affected areas were treated with laser ablation. During a follow-up period ranging from 8 to 20 months, complete remission was achieved in 3 patients—2 with DD and 1 with HHD—and significant improvement was achieved in 1 patient with HHD. Histological examination of control biopsy specimens after ablation in 1 patient with DD revealed no signs of the disease and only a slight fibrosis in the papillary dermis.

Conclusions  Erbium:YAG laser ablation effectively removes lesions of both HHD and DD and can also yield excellent long-term results in chronic, recalcitrant cases.